Nov 13, 2018

Power pod trial for the North West

Power pod trial for the North West Port of Townsville chief financial officer, David Sibley, David Glasson from MITEZ and Ergon Energy's Mark Biffanti. Photo: Budd Photography

A north-west Queensland grazier will be the “guinea pig” in a renewable energy trial set to kick off next month.

A self-sufficient hybrid renewable energy pod, which arrived at Townsville Port today, will be tested in a one-year trial as part of a $100,000 joint venture between the State Government, McKinlay Shire Council and the Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development Zone.

Port of Townsville chief executive officer, Ranee Crosby, said the arrival of a new class of renewable energy cargo in the port was exciting.

“Growing container trade has been powered by imports of solar project cargo, and it is wonderful to see new technologies in the renewable sector being shipped through Townsville Port destined for communities in our region,” she said.

State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said the power pod, equipped with solar panels, a battery and a generator, would supply a McKinlay Shire grazier with off-the-grid renewable energy, in a bid to offer more reliable and affordable electricity for rural properties.

“This project is a fantastic example of the innovative ideas getting off the ground thanks to the Government’s Remote Area Board fund,” Mr Dick said.

McKinlay mayor Belinda Murphy said while local Ergon crews always worked to get the power back on to rural customers as soon as practically possible after a storm or flood, access issues could delay repairs to the Single Wire Earth Return network.

“SWER lines span hundreds of properties across north-west Queensland that could benefit from this independent power source,” Cr Murphy said.

“The recipient of this project will be awarded by public ballot at Julia Creek in December.”

Ergon Energy will advise on-site suitability for connection of the system and conduct on-site energy audits to assist customers in reducing their energy costs.

MITEZ chief executive officer, Glen Graham, said it had awarded a $55,000 grant to the project from the Government’s Remote Area Board funding program.

“This is an innovative and collaborative trial to look to the future potential of delivering power to our remote properties, with improved reliability and reduction in cost using new technology,” Mr Graham said.

During the trial, interested people will be able to view the system by appointment through McKinlay Shire Council.

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